Liberal Fascism: A Closer Look

Ask the average, reasonably educated person what comes to mind when he or she hears the word “fascism” and the immediate responses are “dictatorship,” “genocide,” “anti-Semitism,” “racism,” and “right-wing,” Delve a bit deeper—and move a bit further to the left—and you’ll hear a lot about “eugenics”, “social Darwinism,” “militarism,” and “nationalism.”

WHAT IS FASCISM?

The term fascism typically causes a knee-jerk reaction as something evil and “less than desirable.” We almost immediately think of Nazism; our minds go to Hitler and Mussolini. We consider totalitarianism a synonym of fascism. Totalitarianism relates to a government where the ruler or ruling group has complete control or authority over everyone; completely autocratic, authoritarian, or dictatorial. A totalitarian government gives no room for political parties. Totalitarianism has become a catchall for brutal, soul-killing, Orwellian regimes. But that’s not how the word was originally used or intended. Interestingly, Mussolini himself coined the term to describe a society where everybody belonged; where everyone was taken care of; where everything was inside the state and nothing was outside; where truly no child was left behind.

It has been suggested that true American liberalism is a totalitarian religion, though not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutish. It is nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian—”holistic” if you prefer. In other words, today’s liberal politics sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what we eat and drink (consider New York City’s attempt to outlaw so-called “big gulp” sugary drinks in 2013), to what we smoke, what we say, how we have sex, who we have sex with, how we dress, whether we can say “Merry Christmas,” toys offered to children in fast food meals (used to enhance kids to eat unhealthy food), all-male sports, guns, religion, and gender-based pronouns. Liberals prefer to place their faith in “priestly” experts who “know better,” and who tend to badger and scold. They use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend “nontraditional” beliefs.

WHAT IS LIBERAL FASCISM?

First, let me say there is no definition of “liberal fascism” that is agreed upon between the parties in America today. Jon Bergeron (2015) says, “Far too often socialism and communism are compared to what is currently the political embodiment of the modern leftist ideology in the U.S. These leftist and communist ideas include anti-capitalism, total destruction of the individual in favor of the state, and big government takeover.  We have all heard this stereotype. However, I think there is a far more accurate political ideology floating in the minds of modern leftists, thirsty for revolution to take down ‘the man’ and change the ‘bourgeois system.’ I am speaking of fascism.” Bergeron says typically the masses believe Fascism is reserved only for evil white conservative men who spout evil fascist rhetoric like small government, individualism, self-reliance, capitalism, less dependency on government, traditionalism, and self-responsibility with strong ties to self-sustaining autonomous Christian family units.

That’s because America has bought into the Orwellian leftist language and indoctrination that fascism is of the evil American Right; however, closer examination reveals startling comparisons to the modern American left. Fascism could not be any further from the American conservative! Very few realize that fascism by its very nature was an extremely leftist populist movement taking root in Mussolini’s Italy and spreading like wild fire throughout Europe. Fascism was born out of socialism (the prized ideology among the left) and was an evolved state-centric version of socialism which became popular around the early to mid 1900s. It was “new” and full of revolutionary change.

With fascism, as with all large bloated governments that leftists think can cure all our qualms, the utopian lie is propagated by the state which supposedly aims to build a communal National Socialism state-sponsored family. Fascism was to transcend class differences exactly like socialism preached. Mussolini’s Fascist Party advocated the abolition of the senate and the creation of a national technical council on intellectual and manual labor, industry, commerce and culture; the creation of various government bodies run by worker’s representatives; and the obligation of the state to build rigidly secular schools for the raising of the proletariat’s moral and cultural condition. This all seems hauntingly similar to the modern American leftist’s ideal America. Their rhetoric is far closer to Fascism than the Republican Party’s strong stress on individualism, capitalism, individual responsibility, and reduced government intervention. Remarkably, it also flies in the face of John F. Kennedy’s stanch command, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Liberal fascism is fond of preaching about the need for an all-powerful state to coordinate society at the national or, worse yet, global level. Most of all, they share the belief that with the “right amount of adjustment” we can finally realize the utopian dream of creating a better world here on earth. In other words, why wait for the Christian promise of heaven on earth when the Messiah returns? Let’s make our heaven here and now with just a little tweaking and a little legislating. In America, where hostility to big government still remains central to the national character, the case for statism must be made by the liberals against a backdrop of “pragmatism,” fairness, and decency. In other words, liberal fascism must be nice; it must be for our own good.

“I call my philosophy and approach ‘compassionate conservatism.’ It is compassionate to actively help our fellow citizens in need. It is conservative to insist on responsibility and results. And with this hopeful approach, we will make a real difference in people’s lives.” —George W. Bush

How do today’s liberals respond to the compassionate conservatism of the likes of George W. Bush? They use a secularized vocabulary of “hope,” constructing quasi-spiritual philosophies like Hillary Clinton’s “politics of meaning.” Hillary’s new spirituality comes complete with persuasive albeit false teachers. She felt no constraints as she sought out religious components to mesh with or compliment her socialist one-world globalist worldview; something she’d begun quietly embracing several decades earlier.

Does being obsessed on a community or national level about health, nutrition, and the environment make you a fascist? It’s a funny and strange question, I know. Thankfully, the answer is Of course not! The notion seems to be that fascism stems from holding in high regard the interest of the public good—illnesses, cost of health care, availability and affordability of health insurance—but it does so at the cost of the individual. Fascism says the individual has no right not to be healthy. Accordingly, the state has the right and the obligation to force us to be healthy, whatever it takes. To the extent that modern health movements seek to harness the power of the state in order to promote their agenda, they unfortunately flirt with classical fascism. Environmentalism is another area where the state is willing to bully us into complying in the interest of “making the planet a better place to live.” What makes this bullying palatable is the extent to which the state will go to apply shame, guilt and logic to force our hand.

For example, legislators have been hard at work making it illegal to smoke in your own car, or even outdoors, if other people could conceivable be near you and exposed to second-hand smoke. Free speech, too, is under relentless attack where it matters most—relative to elections. Alexis de Tocqueville (1994) wrote in Democracy in America, “It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life… I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones” (p. 320).

Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes  responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore defined as the enemy. Contemporary American liberalism embodies all of these aspects of fascism.

Why are today’s liberals unwilling to acknowledge the intellectual history of their political philosophy? Liberalism stands on the shoulders of giants from the initial Progressive Era. This is made obvious by their tendency  to use the word “progressive” whenever talking about their liberal core convictions. They consistently claim it is conservatives who have their roots in fascism. Of course, you won’t see liberals today running around shouting from the rooftops that they intend to conquer the world by force of arms. They show no signs of being part of a nationalist or eugenics movement. Instead, they speak of having the best of intentions when it comes to society. Whether this is true or not is not necessarily clear.

THE ORIGINAL PROGRESSIVE ERA (1890-1920)

Progressivism is the term applied to a variety of responses to the economic and social problems seemingly caused by rapid industrialization introduced to America. Those who agreed with this concept wanted to stop child labor and put major regulations on big business.The major goals of the Progressives were to promote the ides of morality, economic reform, efficiency and social welfare. Progressivism began as a social movement and grew into a political movement. The early Progressives rejected Social Darwinism. Rather, they believed that the problems society faced (poverty, violence, greed, racism, class warfare) could best be addressed by providing a good education, a safe environment, and an efficient workplace. Progressives lived mainly in the cities, were college educated, and believed that government could be a tool for change. Progressives concentrated on exposing the evils of corporate greed, combating the fear of immigrants, and urging Americans to think hard about what democracy really means.

Progressivism was the reform movement that ran from the late 19th century through the first decades of the 20th century, during which leading intellectuals and social reformers in the United States sought to address the economic, political, and cultural questions that had arisen in the context of the rapid changes brought with the Industrial Revolution and the growth of modern capitalism in America.

On a national level, Progressivism gained a strong voice in the White House when Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901. Roosevelt believed that strong corporations were good for America, but he also believed that corporate behavior must be watched to ensure that corporate greed did not get out of hand. He felt this must be accomplished through government regulations for trust-busting and other activities of corporate greed. Progressivism ended with World War I when the horrors of war exposed people’s cruelty.

Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle (1906) caused Roosevelt to push Congress to pass numerous reforms like the Meat Inspection Act , the Pure Food Act, and the Drug Act. He also helped invest the Interstate Commerce Act with new powers, and created the new Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903. This new agency was empowered with the ability to investigate corporations. Roosevelt also set aside over 50 wildlife sanctuaries and parks that are still in use today. Roosevelt built the Panama Canal, which made trade with other countries much easier. 

Many Americans bought into President Woodrow Wilson’s progressive claims that the war would make the world safe for democracy.

DOES PROGRESSIVISM HAVE A PLACE IN AMERICA TODAY?

The push for a progressive takeover of Congress began long before Trump won office. One audacious plan began to take hold in early 2016, as a crew of organizers for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign traveled the country, staging revival-style rallies. In fact, when watching video of Sanders’ rallies, I had the sense I was watching the sermons of a hybrid preacher/politician/prophet. Members of Congress and the Justice Department are just two elements in a movement where different groups with different agendas jostle for donations and influence in the 2020 presidential election.

Some, like Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, were in place years before the Sanders campaign. California billionaire Tom Steyer, the Democrats’ largest donor, has spent millions of his own money on NextGen America, a group that aims to mobilize young voters. He is pulling out all stops to register first-time teenage voters as liberals. This hedge-fund-manager-turned-activist vows to build the largest progressive operation in America. And he has the money to at least try to pull it off.

History has shown that in virtually all extreme leftist movements, be it communism, Nazism, socialism, or Fascism, murder, violence, and censorship are often used to push the party agenda. Does this sound absurd? The Southern Democrats, avid supporters of slavery, stopped at nothing to frighten Blacks into servitude, pushing those who transgressed (or tried to leave the plantation) into compliance, take Black women for themselves, keep Blacks beholden to their “masters” for their very sustenance, and to discourage and punish Republicans and freethinking Democrats who dared vote to grant freedom or, indeed, any rights, to Blacks. The intimidation was horrendous, evil, violent, constant, inhumane, unthinkable, and absolutely unbelievable.

This historic pattern is cyclical. To the extent that outright public lynching, stonings, murder, and violence are unlikely today, nevertheless, extreme leftists are quite adept at countless other discriminatory, persecutory, New Jim Crow methods of keeping minorities down. And that’s just their behavior toward those they deem less-than-human or not their equal. Beyond that, many recent events (Charlottesville, VA) show us that anyone who rises up in support of conservative values can fall victim—directly or indirectly—to the violence of the Progressive Movement. I can think of two brilliant mantras that warn us relative to history. First, we are told that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Second, George Orwell expressed in 1984, “He who controls the past controls the future.” In other words, if the government is capable of editing, rewriting or erasing history in order to present a sanitized picture of what occurred, then the future is whatever the government creates it to be.

Toward what do the Progressives of today believe they are progressing? The chances are more than good that they have no idea. Somehow “progress” means greater equality, greater understanding, greater tolerance, greater peace, and greater evolution. Somehow. But it’s never entirely clear how. In almost every sense, modern Progressives mean that anything they deem good is progressive while all else is not just wrong but evil. Is there an actual end to the progress of Progressives? Is there a threshold of equality that must be crossed, one that would at least allow us to claim victory? Is there some utopia just around the corner, achievable in some viable way?

Just as the Progressives of today have no real sense of where their progress might or should lead, they have even less sense of their origins. And to the extent that any of them do know, they don’t want us to know. But is everything the Progressive Movement stands for bad for America. Likely, no. Perhaps it is the manner in which they want to cram these many changes down our throats that’s wrong. What is the endgame, anyway? Do the leftists want to help you and I achieve our every want and desire (something that is no doubt seated deep in our will, mind and emotion) at the expense of our mind and our spirit? Do they want us to want our desires (which they have now determined for us to be additional unalienable rights) to the extent that we’ll become beholden to the state in order to have these desires met? And do they now want to tell us want we want and what we should want? Does big government want to become our sugar daddy?

Nothing has been more devastating and dangerous politically in the 20th and 21st  century than leftist thought. If we look at 20th century communism alone we see that an alarming 85 to 100 million worldwide have perished under leftist regimes. These governments have also been guilty of censorship, labor and internment camps, blanket violation of civil liberties, mass incarceration of so-called “undesirables,” blockade of international humanitarian aid, refusal of scrutiny of their human rights violations, suppression of free expression of religion (especially Christianity), and many other forms of oppression. We’ve already seen a systematic attack of Christianity in America. Progressives do not want alternatives to the Big Bang, Darwinism, humanism, big government as our “father,” and other questions about the origin and meaning of life being preached or taught. Militant atheists are fond of explaining that Christian parents cramming their “religion” down the throats of their children is nothing less than indoctrination and a form of child abuse.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

The atmosphere of intolerance, censorship, and incipient violence created by both the thuggish hard left and the ideologically preening elite left will have dire results for everyone. It’s inevitable. It undermines support on the left and right alike for free expression and a minimum of interference—by coercive government or coercive mobs—in assembly, organizing, and expression. If serious Progressives, including opponents of Trump, want to stop this cycle of illiberalism, they have to stop demonizing the right and start training their rhetorical fire on the vandals in the street and the ideologues in the newsroom. Doing so will not only safeguard Americans’ liberties—which are critical to a free and “progressive” America as our Founding Fathers intended— it might well save lives. In the meantime, the Trump administration and the Justice Department need not only to think about how to stop the current spate of violence, but move to stop it before it gets even worse. Appeasement is not an option. I cannot imagine how to even begin a dialog with these so-called Progressives. They don’t want to talk. They think there’s nothing to talk about. I suggest we on the other side of the aisle keep our rhetoric to a minimum and show love and respect. 

God bless the United States of America.

References

Bergeron, J. (March 27, 2015). “Why Modern Leftists are Fascists.” Return of Kings. Retrieved from: http://www.returnofkings.com/58601/why-modern-leftists-are-fascists

de Tocqueville, A. (1994). Democracy in America. State College, PA: The Pennsylvania State University.

Orwell, G. (1948). 1984. Paris: Hatier.

 

 

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Presidents and the FBI

President Donald J. Trump’s situation regarding possible investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation is sadly not unique. The list of presidents investigated by the FBI while in office is frighteningly long. Beginning with Richard Nixon, eight of our last nine presidents have been the subject of FBI investigations while in office. Sadly, it seems almost routine. Barack Obama is the only sitting president since Nixon to not be the focus of an FBI probe.

Richard M. Nixon

Nixon Close UpOn June 17, 1972, five men were arrested inside the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C. while attempting to plant electronic surveillance devices in the offices of the Democratic National Committee. The question of what exactly they hoped to discover is still unanswered, but it would turn out this foiled break-in was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the criminal activities of Nixon’s administration. Nixon’s “plumbers”—a White House covert investigative unit so named because they were ostensibly formed to stop leaks to the press of various secret activities—engaged in all manner of political debauchery, beginning with digging up dirt on Daniel Ellsberg, who had blown the whistle on Nixon’s secret bombing raids in Laos and Cambodia. While Nixon managed to dodge a surprising amount of heat for various corrupt activities carried out by his White House, the personal hand Nixon took in covering up these men’s activity ultimately led to his downfall. He resigned in the middle of impeachment proceedings on August 4, 1974.

In the aftermath of the break in, Nixon asked the CIA to disrupt the FBI investigation, paid co-conspirators for their silence, and attempted to manufacture evidence exonerating himself and others to give to the judge involved in the case. The investigation into just how high up the chain of command that Watergate scandal reached was a multiyear joint effort between the FBI and a number of journalists, most notably Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. The pair were receiving insider info from FBI second-in-command Mark Felt, who was identifed for decades simply as “Deep Throat.” Eventually, the Senate set-up a special independent counsel to investigate and a grand jury was formed.

Ultimately, the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon. Article 1, Obstruction of JusticeArticle 2, Abuse of Power, and Article 3, Defiance of Subpoenas. Nixon resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office. He was subsequently and infamously pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.

Gerald R. Ford

gerald-ford-9298683-1-402The Watergate scandal went well beyond the initial break-in and extended far into Richard Nixon’s second term as president, with Gerald Ford replacing the disgraced Spiro Agnew as vice president. The investigation into the crimes of Nixon’s administration did not end with his resignation, and many—including the FBI—naturally questioned whether Ford had been complicit in any way. These questions intensified when Ford’s infamous pardon of Nixon raised allegations of dirty dealing. His approval ratings plummeted and there was speculation Ford and Nixon had struck some kind of corrupt agreement behind closed doors. No charges were ever raised against Ford in connection with the Watergate scandal specifically.

Public trust in the government was virtually non-existent after the Watergate Scandal. It didn’t help that information came to light about potentially illegal activities carried out by a number of government organizations. Ford’s vice president launched an investigation meant to uncover CIA corruption and present previously disclosed information to the American public in a transparent fashion. Known as the Rockefeller Commission, the endeavor ultimately did more harm than good. It was determined that Ford’s administration had heavily edited and censored their report before it was released. In fact, Chief of Staff Dick Cheney ordered the removal of an 86-page section regarding CIA assassinations.

Jimmy Carter

JimmyCarterPortrait2Carter was well into his presidency when it emerged that his family peanut business had received potentially inappropriate loans. Investigators alleged that Carter had used money from these loans to fund his presidential campaign in 1976. A special counsel, Paul J. Curran, was appointed to investigate the manner, and he did so over a period of seven months, mostly out of the public spotlight but with the involvement of a federal grand jury.

The Curran report cited numerous irregularities in the transactions between Carter’s company and the bank. The loans, which eventually grew to a total of $6.5 million, were first extended in June 1975 when the National Bank of Georgia was run by Bert Lance, who later became President Carter’s first budget director. The report cited numerous instances of checks written on a Carter business account at the bank without sufficient funds to back them up, the removal of collateral in violation of the terms of the NHG loans, bookkeeping irregularities at the bank and other violations of the loan agreements between NBG and the Carter company.

The largest of these loans, extended so the warehouse could buy unshelled peanuts for its sheller, was continually short of collateral except for a brief period in 1975. During one seven-week period in the spring of 1976, the warehouse owed as much as $1,150,000 to NBG without having any peanuts under bond—as it had agreed to do—to secure the debt. Currand was determined to find out whether any money was diverted illegally from the warehouse to Jimmy Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign and whether any federal crimes were committed in the handling of several large loans from NBG to the warehouse.

Ronald Reagan

Official_Portrait_of_President_Reagan_1985_(cropped)In a world of complicated presidential scandals, so-called “Debategate” offers nearly whimsical simplicity—someone stole the prep notes of Jimmy Carter before an important televised debate and gave them to Reagan’s team. Reagan dominated Carter in the debate and cruised to an election win. But we should not expect our presidential candidates to engage in such sophomoric behavior. An investigation by the Justice Department was launched, lasting nearly eight months, ultimately finding no evidence of criminal conduct. Democrats and certain media outlets cried out for appointment of a Special Counsel. The request was not granted.

Reagan’s not-so-juvenile scandal to follow was Iran-Contra. In 1985, the government of Iran, under embargo due in part to their war with Iraq, reached a secret deal with the Reagan administration. This involved the United States illegally trading arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages. The Administration violated international law and Reagan’s campaign promise to never negotiate with terrorists. Moreover, money gained from the deal was funneled Contra militants fighting against communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

At first, the Reagan-appointed Tower Commission looked into Iran-Contra to determine whether Reagan had advanced knowledge of these secret dealings. Eventually, an independent counsel, Lawrence Walsh, was appointed to take over the investigation. Despite an 8-year investigation, Walsh failed to uncover evidence officially linking Reagan to the Iran-Contra affair.  Fourteen people were eventually charged with crimes relative to the operation and conspiracy to cover it up. A large number of the convictions for high-ranking Reagan officials were overturned by pardons from incoming President George H.W. Bush. Oliver North, an army colonel who had admitted to diverting funds to the Contras, was found guilty, but his conviction was later overturned on a technicality.

George H.W. Bush

President George H W BushA scandal that began during the Reagan administration seeped into the early days of the administration of Bush 41. The Reagan administration began granting Iraq financial support to help with the Iran-Iraq War. Despite Congress pushing for sanctions against Iraq after allegations of human rights violations in 1988, both the Bush and Reagan administrations strove to keep relations friendly in defiance of Congress.

Bush administration officials were accused of dealing with an international bank located in Italy with a shady reputation. The bank was later accused of loaning money to Iraq for the illegal purchase of weapons during the Iran-Iraq war in 1992. Some of the money was linked to loans previously granted to Iraq by the Bush administration. This led investigators to speculate that the administration had engaged in business transactions with the Italian bank despite knowing its role in illegal weapons dealing.

 Former judge Frederick B. Lacey was named Special Prosecutor in charge of investigating multiple matters involving the Bush administration, including the bank scandal and potential facilitating of weapon sales. Lacey found no federal crime had been committed, and no connection to George H.W. Bush was ever formally drawn. None of the many investigations found any evidence of involvement, conspiracy, or cover-up.

Bill Clinton

President Clinton graced us with several major scandals.

Bill Clinton and the Flag

Whitewater. The Whitewater scandal was a hold-over from Arkansas when he and wife Hillary suffered a failed business venture known as the Whitewater Development Corporation. Their business partner, Jim McDougal, engaged in fraudulent activity as the development failed, forming a phony loan company known as Madison Guaranty. It was alleged that the Clintons themselves were involved by pressuring an Arkansas banker to provide McDougal with an illegal loan. Allegations were also made that fraudulent funds from Madison were used to pay off debts related to Bill Clinton’s campaign for governor.

Several investigations were launched into the Whitewater scandal, including one by famed independent counsel Kenneth Starr. The investigation uncovered a staggering number of wrongdoings by McDougal and those associated with him. Several fraud charges resulted from the scandal, but no evidence emerged proving the Clintons were aware of the fraud or participated in any illegal activities related to Madison Guaranty. None of this derails Bill Clinton’s path to the presidency.

In June 1993, Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster files three years of delinquent Whitewater corporate tax returns. Foster is found dead in a Washington area park on July 20, 1993. Police rule the death a suicide. Federal investigators are not allowed access to Foster’s office immediately after the discovery, but White House aides enter Foster’s office shortly after his death, giving rise to speculation that files were removed from his office before the FBI got there.

The Lewinsky Affair. The investigation into the Whitewater scandal was eventually expanded, with independent counsel Kenneth Starr looking into allegations of sexual impropriety by President Clinton. This included an affair with young White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which had left behind physical and circumstantial evidence of her encounter with Clinton. Most importantly, Clinton perjured himself during the Whitewater investigation by denying sexual relations with Lewinsky under oath. Starr concluded in late 1998 that Clinton committed perjury, and should be charged. Articles of impeachment were issued and a Senate trial followed. Every Democrat and ten Republicans voted to acquit Clinton.

Filegate. The Filegate scandal surfaced during the investigation of Travelgate where seven presumably competent individuals were ousted to make room for Clinton relatives. In 1993 and 1994, hundreds of FBI background files on officials in previous Republican presidential administrations were improperly given to Craig Livingstone, the director of White House security who was a Hillary Clinton favorite.

Bill and Hillary Clinton were cleared of any wrongdoing or connection to the acquisition of the files. Fingerprint analysis in 1996 supported Hillary’s claims she had no contact with the files. Nevertheless, the civil lawsuit connected to Filegate would not conclude for well over a decade when a judge dismissed the case. Nevertheless, Filegate had long reaching consequences. This, along with other scandals, were brought up numerous times by Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. It’s been spectulated that renewed interest in the case, and the resulting bad press, was a contributing factor to Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

George W. Bush

Geo W Bush

Valarie Plame. For 18 years as an undercover agent for the CIA, Valerie Plame Wilson kept her occupation and her identity a secret, even from her own friends and family, to avoid compromising her work as a spy. When she was exposed in 2003, it led to a federal investigation and raised questions about what would motivate such a betrayal. The Bush administration released Plame’s identity to syndicated columnist Robert Novak. Of course, Novak would go on to publish Plame’s name in a newspaper column.

Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, had criticized President Bush relative to the alleged “yellow cake” uranium that Saddam Hussein obtained from Niger, and the leak was seen as a form of retaliation. “Outing” a covert operative imperils many. It risks not only the officer’s safety—there are many who want a CIA officer dead—but the entire network of foreign assets being run by the officer. In some cases, the assets’ lives and even those of their families may be jeopardized. The danger is real.

The investigation into Plamegate lasted 22 months, and was led by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. The investigation looked beyond the leak to determine whether Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, had been involved in a cover-up. Ultimately, no one was charged in relation to the leak itself, but Scooter Libby was convicted for misleading investigators. His sentence was commuted by President Bush, who was never formally connected with the Plame affair himself.

Donald J. Trump

president-trump-emergency-alert-text-fema-2018Russian Collusion and Obstruction of Justice. Allegations have been made that Donald Trump’s campaign for presidency colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. There have also been subsequent allegations that the actions of the Trump administration, including the firing of FBI director James Comey, constitute obstruction of justice.

U.S. intelligence agencies have been able to determine that Moscow attempted to sway the 2016 presidential election away from Hillary Clinton and in favor of Donald Trump. It has been alleged that Russian hackers stole information linked to the Clinton campaign and passed it on to WikiLeaks so it could be released to undermine her. Congressional committees were set up to investigate the matter. In March, then FBI director James Comey confirmed the Bureau was undertaking its own investigation. Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, less than two months after Comey confirmed at a congressional hearing that the Bureau was investigating “whether there was any coordination between the [Trump] campaign and Russia’s efforts” to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The White House has offered several contradictory reasons for Comey’s firing. Initially, Trump said he terminated Comey because of “strong recommendations” from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Later, Trump said he planned on firing Comey “regardless of recommendation.” The president also claimed the “FBI has been in turmoil,” and a White House spokeswoman said “the rank and file of the FBI has lost confidence” in Comey. Much information surfaced that these statements were not accurate. Rather, Trump was overheard on May 17, 2017 informing Russian officials in the Oval Office that he had fired Director Comey. He said, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Still, Trump informed Lester Holt of NBC News that Comey was fired because of incompetence.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Americans who lived through the Watergate scandal believed that Nixon’s impeachment and resignation would forever put to rest the notion that the president is above the law. Article 1 of the three impeachment articles filed against Nixon stated that he “obstructed and impeded the administration of justice.” Obstruction also was part of both impeachment articles returned against President Bill Clinton by the House of Representatives in 1998. Clinton ultimately was acquitted, but the principle that the president can be held accountable for obstruction of justice remained intact.

The New York Times noted on June 2, 2018 that lawyers for President Trump revealed the basis of their legal strategy in a confidential letter, informing special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump will not comply with requests for an interview. The letter, dated January 29, also claimed Trump could use his executive powers to pardon if needed. In the letter, the lawyers noted the importance of the presidency itself. “We are reminded of our duty to protect the president and his office,” adding, “Ensuring that the office remains sacred and above the fray of shifting political winds and gamesmanship is of critical importance.” Sekulow and Dowd—who has resigned from Trump’s legal team—also discussed the priorities and perception of the presidency. “The president’s prime function as the chief executive ought not be hampered by requests for interview,” they wrote. “Having him testify demeans the office of the president before the world.”

The letter stated, in pertinent part, “It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.” Regarding the firing of James Comey, the letter stated, “As you know, and as Mr. Comey himself has acknowledged, a president can fire an FBI director at any time and for any reason. To the extent that such an action has an impact on any investigation pending before the FBI, that impact is simply an effect of the president’s lawful exercise of his constitutional power and cannot constitute obstruction of justice here. No president has ever faced charges of obstruction merely for exercising his constitutional authority. A president can also order the termination of an investigation by the Justice Department or FBI at any tie and for any reason.”

It is certainly possible for a president to obstruct justice. Any case for immunity from criminal prosecution—at least while in office—has its proponents, but they base their position mainly on the consideration that a sitting president must be unencumbered to fully execute the duties of the office. The security and sovereignty of the nation depend on it. While a sitting president may be out of reach in court, there’s no question that the House can impeach and the Senate can convict the president for any actions, including obstruction of justice, that lawmakers decide are “high crimes and misdemeanors” under the Constitution.

The question remains: Did President Trump fire Director Comey because he would not agree to “lift the cloud” of the Russian investigation? For purposes of criminal law, presidents must be judged by the lawfulness or unlawfulness of their acts, not by the motivations that underlay them. It’s not that a president can never be charged with obstruction of justice. It is that he cannot be charged with that crime if his only actions were constitutionally authorized. This distinction is central to our system of separation of powers and checks and balances.

A Primer on Party History in America

A POLITICAL PARTY IS TYPICALLY DEFINED as an organization of people who share the same views about the way power should be used in a country or society through government or policymaking or other such control. The essential aim of a political party is to elect officials who will attempt to carry out the party’s policies. Consider that a political party sets forth positions on issues that may range from war and taxes to how children should be educated. The latter might specifically include Common Core State Standards Initiative or creationism versus Darwinism.

Political parties may be large or small, national or local. Large political parties generally have millions of members and supporters. In democratic election campaigns, parties compete freely for votes. Such competition is one of the hallmarks of democracy. Of course, many people demonstrate “party identification” without formally belonging to a party. They show party loyalty by the individual for whom they cast their vote.

HOW PARTIES BEGAN

Political parties as we know them did not begin to develop until the late 1660s. The ancient Greeks, who were pioneers in developing democracy, had no organized political parties in the modern sense. The senate of the ancient Romans had two groups that represented the people with different interests—the Patricians and the Plebeians. The Patricians represented the interests of the nobles and the Plebeians represented the wealthy merchants and the middle class. Although these two groups often interacted, at times they voted as factions, or parties, on certain issues that were important to the groups they represented—issues on which they strongly disagreed.

REPUBLICANISM

Republicanism is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic under which the people hold popular sovereignty. Many countries are “republics” in the sense they are not monarchies. In general, republicanism refers to the ideology embraced by members of a republic, which is a form of representational government in which leaders are elected for a specific period by the preponderance of the citizenry, and laws are passed by these leaders for the benefit of the entire republic, rather than select members of a ruling class, or aristocracy.

The Founding Fathers may have declared independence from England in 1776, but that was truly just the beginning. The real work of putting together a new government got underway at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787. When deliberations ended and the delegates walked out, a member of the gathering crowd asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” I cannot help but think he was considering the importance of limiting elected representatives from monopolizing their office through maintaining a perpetual grip on the reigns of their districts.

To me, politicians should go to Washington, do their best—with the utmost integrity— and then come home to live with the legislation they’ve passed. Our Founding Fathers never imagined the rise of the career politician. They envisioned citizen legislators from various walks of life, each helping run this great nation. Elected office was never meant to be a career, nor was it meant to be a vessel for the centralization and maintenance of federal power. Here are some examples of career politicians: Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) was a sitting senator for 51 years. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) served for 49 years. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) served for 46 years. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been serving for 39 years. Orrin Hatch (R–Utah) has been serving for 37 years. Joe Biden (D-Del.) served for 36 years before becoming the 47th vice president of the United States. Seventy-nine current members of Congress have been serving for more than 20 years, and twenty of those members have been serving for over thirty years. Congress has an abysmal 17% approval rating. I find it unbelievable that we cannot fire these individuals. Of course, this would involve not re-electing them over and over again!

THE PROBLEM WITH POLITICAL PARTIES IN AMERICA

When the Constitution was written in 1787, the founders thought of political parties as “factions,” acting only for their own selfish interests rather than the public good. The founders saw instances in history when factions resorted to assassination and civil war if they failed to get their way. The writers of the Constitution believed that political parties would play no formal role in the new government. The Constitution made no mention of them. The leaders of the American Revolution did not like the idea of parties and political battles between parties.

Upon his retirement from public life in 1796, George Washington warned Americans against “factions” (parties). James Madison thought parties were probably necessary, although he did not entirely approve of them. He, along with several other Founding Fathers, were concerned that political parties would serve only to split the country. Madison believed factions to be sewn into the very fabric of man. He wrote in Federalist No. 10, “Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself  so much alarmed for their character and fate as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it.”

Madison wrote that when people split into groups the result is often anti-democratic. People argue and fight and ultimately bring down the government; by nature, factions are destructive. Madison believed that society could do one of the following to deal with the destructive nature of factions: (a) accept them; (b) destroy liberty and force everyone to think alike; or (c) bring all factions together under one group so they will cancel one another. In other words, factions and their problems can be eliminated by taking away their cause—free thought. Madison said, “There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.”

WHY TWO PARTIES?

  • Consensus of Values. Obviously, it’s easy to complain about all this bickering between parties. We see it constantly. It seems to be magnified especially during elections as we’re force-fed relentless campaign ads day after day until 8:00 p.m. on election night. Regardless, both parties believe in liberty, equality, and individualism. Neither advocates that the Constitution be discarded. Candidates from both sides of the isle believe in the election process and concede defeat to the winners. What we sometimes forget is that Americans share a broad consensus, or agreement, of many basic political values. In many countries with multi-party systems, the range of beliefs is greater, and disagreements run deeper. For example, in modern day Russia, one party advocates a return to communism, some offer modified socialism and/or capitalism, and one promotes ultra-nationalism. Thankfully, I don’t see the potential for America running away from its constitutional form of government any time soon.
  • Historical Influence. America began from its inception as a two-party nation—the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. During early American history politicians tended to take sides, starting with the debate over the Constitution, and continuing with the disagreements between two of George Washington’s cabinet members—Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. The tendency has persisted throughout American history. Hamilton’s group was made up of merchants, bankers and manufacturers, with some wealthy farmers and Southern plantation owners. They were mostly well-educated and owned property. Most of them were in New England and along the coast. Jefferson’s cohorts were mostly artisans, shopkeepers, frontier settlers, back-country farmers and poor farmers. They were mostly ill-educated and illiterate. The majority of them were settled in the interior regions.
  • Winner-Take-All System. The most important reason for a two-party system is the winner-take-all electoral structure. In contrast to systems with proportional representation, the winner in American elections is the one who receives the largest number of votes. The winner does not need to have more than 50 percent, but only one vote more than his or her opponents. If a third party receives 15% of the vote for every contested Senate seat, that party wins zero seats in the United States Senate. Consequently, one of the two major parties almost always wins a plurality, and third parties are completely shut out of national offices. Candidates like Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader and their numerous supporters find this aspect of the two-party system most daunting.

PRESIDENTS AND THEIR PARTIES

Seal of the President of the United States

For George Washington’s initial election, political parties did not yet exist in America. He became associated with the Federalist party after he was in office. Accordingly, Washington was the first president elected solely for his integrity and political philosophy rather than party ideology or affiliation. Rather refreshing isn’t it? Abraham Lincoln was America’s first Republican. Donald Trump is our current Republican president. Others have included Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. I’m embarrassed to admit that I always thought (before I started doing research on the history of our nation) that both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were Democrats.

Democrats have included Andrew Jackson (the party’s founder), Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Obviously, Hillary Clinton wanted to be added to that list, and rumor has it Joe Biden might try to make it in 2020.

As noted, George Washington belonged to the Federalist party, as did John Adams. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams were members of the Democratic-Republican party. William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Millard Fillmore were Whigs. Andrew Johnson was a member of the Union party.

PartyVotes-Presidents.png

FEDERALISTS VERSUS REPUBLICANS

At the end of his second term, Washington announced he would not run again for president. The bitter rivalry that had developed between the Federalists and Republicans deeply disturbed Washington. In his Farewell Address, he warned that parties were likely “to become potent engines by which . . . unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”

Washington’s warning did not sway many. The presidential election of 1796, the first without Washington as a candidate, saw candidates backed by the Federalist and Republican parties. The Federalists favored John Adams and the Republicans backed Thomas Jefferson.

Neither Adams nor Jefferson actively campaigned. They remained at home while their supporters wrote letters and newspaper articles promoting their candidate. Adams won the presidency with 71 of the 139 Electoral College votes, one more than the required majority. Jefferson with 68 electoral votes came in second to become vice president. Thus the new administration had a Federalist president and Republican vice president.

Adams continued Washington’s pro-British trade policies. In retaliation, France began to attack American merchant ships. The attacks enraged the American public and prompted Adams to threaten war against France. He also proposed increasing taxes to create a navy and expand the standing (permanent) federal army. Jefferson and the Republican Party were alarmed at the rush to war and opposed the idea of building up the military. They viewed a large military as a threat to the power of the states.

As war loomed, the Federalists claimed that French spies and Americans who insulted federal officials were undermining the security of the nation at home. In 1798, Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts. These laws outlawed any malicious criticism of the president or other federal officials. In a series of sensational trials, Federalist judges and juries convicted about a dozen Republican writers and newspaper editors, mainly for defaming President Adams. Jefferson condemned these prosecutions and charged the Federalists with trying to destroy the Republican Party.

IS PARTY POLITICS DESTROYING AMERICA?

Partisan Politics Graphic

According to Michael Coblenz, reporter for The Hill, the two-party system is destroying America. He writes, “Democrats and Republicans are in a death match and the American people are caught in the middle.” What does he base this vitriolic rhetoric on? He says our nation faces numerous serious problems, from what he sees as growing inequality to a proliferation of international terrorism. His concern is that the bitter fight between Democrats and Republicans “…has largely ground government to a halt.” He believes partisans on both sides are so angry they can barely speak with the other, much less work together. Frankly, I see his point. I’m just not sure the root of the problem lies with the two-party system. Rather, it seems the hostility itself is causing gridlock in Congress. Moreover, polarization does not lie solely with politicians; it is less a them problem than an us problem. Polarization is often blamed on Washington, but it actually has its roots in us, the electorate.

Let’s take a moment to consider the nature of polarization among the masses. In the 7th season of the series American Horror Story, Cult, the fictional city of Brookfield Heights, Michigan is left divided by the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Local restaurant owner Ally Mayfair-Richards is utterly distraught by Donald Trump’s victory and several of her longstanding phobias flare up as a result. In fact, she’s reduced to a dysfunctional mess of fear and emotions. Ally is a lesbian in a same-sex marriage and co-owner of a trendy restaurant. They are parents of a young boy. They’re concerned that their entire life is doomed under Trump. Indeed, liberalism, pluralism, freedom itself, is under attack. The initial episode is littered with newsreel footage of campaign speeches of Clinton and Trump and countless reactions from liberals hysterical over Hillary’s loss. It also includes numerous minorities and LGBTQs complaining that their lifestyle will come under attack. Minorities claim that “white nationalists” will hunt them down.

James Q. Wilson once wrote, “By polarization I mean… an intense commitment to a candidate, a culture, or an ideology that sets people in one group definitively apart from people in another, rival group. Such a condition is revealed when a candidate for public office is regarded by a competitor and his supporters not simply as wrong but as corrupt or wicked; when one way of thinking about the world is assumed to be morally superior to any other way; when one set of political beliefs is considered to be entirely correct and a rival set wholly wrong [Italics mine].” This is a textbook example of polarization among the masses.

Coblenz said a recent Pew Research survey found that 36 percent of Republicans supposedly believe liberal policies are “a threat to the nation’s well-being.” Over the last thirty years the nation has grown more partisan and Congress has become less effective. I’m not sure if there has been a cause-and-effect that has trickled up from constituents to Congress. In any event, each side is more extreme, and each bases their political agenda on demonizing the other side. Each side engages in political manipulation, gerrymandering, and manipulating the rules of Congress to get their way, stymie their opponents, or completely deny them access to political office or committee membership. When that doesn’t work, they often resort to character assassination or impeachment. Consider what liberals attempted when Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the presidential campaign of 2016 there were chants of Lock her up! ringing through Donald Trump’s rallies, often encouraged by Trump himself. There was Hillary Clinton’s famous comment that half of Donald Trump’s supporters were nothing but a  “basket of deplorables,” and her suggestion to a reporter, “I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse.” The mudslinging from both sides reached new lows in an election involving the two most unpopular presidential candidates in modern history. During a recent episode of the reboot of Murphy Brown, a colleague awoke from a ten-year coma to learn that Donald Trump was president of the United States. She screamed, then said, “Put me back in a coma!”

THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN POLITICS

For political observers, 2016 felt like a tsunami. Something we won’t likely see for many election cycles to come. The Republican Party seems to be splitting over support for Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, attempted to command the Democratic party and move into the White House. It feels as though a new era of politics is beginning in America. It seems we’re seeing the beginning of a policy realignment, when those new partisan coalitions decide which ideas and beliefs they stand for—when, in essence, they party platforms catch up to the shift in party voters that has already happened.

The type of conservatism long championed by the Republican Party was expected to fall. Who could rally its voters without being beholden to its donors, experts and pundits? The opposite appears to be being built right before our eyes with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. The 2016 presidential election may be a strong sign that American politics is changing in profound and lasting ways. One thing is for sure: The 2020 presidential election is going to be quite interesting.

Social issues spurred a partisan realignment in 2016 by changing who considered themselves to be Democrats and Republicans. Over decades, socially conservative working-class whites migrated from the Democratic Party to join the Republican Party, especially in the South. Socially moderate Republicans, especially on the East Coast, shifted to the Democratic coalition. Blacks have begun to migrate to the Republican Party. Now, there’s little disagreement within each party on social issues. Some say it has blurred the lines. Can this be a precursor to increased bipartisan cooperation? I’m hopeful but not convinced.

The midterm elections were chock full of rather vicious campaign ads. In my home state of Pennsylvania, the Republican candidate for governor, Scott Wagner, unloaded the following rant on Facebook, directed at the incumbent Democrat: “Governor Wolf, let me tell you, between now and November 6th, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m gonna stomp all over your face with golf spikes because I’m gonna win this for the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re throwing you out of office because you know what, I’m sick and tired of your negative ads.” Is it just me, or just that sound just a bit like irony?

Perhaps we’ll begin to see a number of senators and congressmen and congresswomen defect from the Democrats and Republicans in search of independence from the two-party system over the coming election cycles.

Liberal Fascism

Dinesh D’Souza, in his seminal book Death of  a Nation, wrote, “Progressive Democrats are in fact the inventors of racism and white supremacy, and the Republican Party fought them all the way. Progressives and Democrats were also the groups that were in bed with fascism and Nazism in the 1920s and 1930s, while Republicans opposed this cozy alliance.” D’Souza notes that all the villains of the civil rights movement—Birmingham sheriff Bull Connor, Selma (AL) sheriff Jim Clark, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus, Georgia governor Lester Maddox, Mississippi governor Ross Barnett, Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace—were Democrats. Every one of them.

D’Souza adds, “So we have the remarkable spectacle today of the party of racism, fascism and white supremacy blaming the party of anti-racism and resistance to fascism and white supremacy for being racist, fascist and white supremacist.” It is quite sad to me that middle class Americans, people of color, and those of alternative lifestyle, are buying into the fiction of GOP racism and white supremacy; additionally, they are convinced the Democrats have their best interests at heart; that a “blue wave” in America means a kinder, loving, supportive, understanding, equal-rights, open-minded government.

I must admit that President Trump’s claim “I’m a nationalist” has done more to poison America’s opinion of him than is warranted. I’m convinced that Trump means exactly what nationalism is: “…a political, social, and economic system characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining sovereignty over the homeland.” Trump proposes true, effective border security and enforcement of immigration laws for the sole purpose of maintaining the sovereignty and security of America.

WHAT IS LIBERAL FASCISM?

Ask the average, reasonably-educated person what comes to mind when he or she hears the word “fascism” and the immediate responses are “dictatorship,” “genocide,” “anti-Semitism,” “racism,” and (unfortunately) “right-wing.” The Urban Dictionary—at urbandictionary.comdefines liberal fascism as …a term to describe the alt-Left political movement… a group of liberals who believe that any free speech that opposes their views should not be allowed… who oppose and try to quiet any person or group who does not follow or believe their set of values and beliefs. Liberal fascists also believe that every American should follow and adhere to the liberal Democratic views and policies regardless of their political background or system.

There is no word in the English language that gets thrown around more freely by people who don’t know what it means than “fascism.” Roger Griffin, in his book The Nature of Fascism, defines fascism as “a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism.” Roger Eatwell, author of Fascism: A History, says that fascism’s essence is “a form of thought that preaches the need for social rebirth in order to forge a holistic-national radical Third Way.” It is a mass movement that combines different classes but is prevalently of the middle class, which sees itself as having a mission of national regeneration. Interestingly, fascism is both “anti-liberalism” and “anti-conservatism.”

Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, believes that fascism is primarily a secular religion. Goldberg writes, “…many modern liberals and leftists act as if they know exactly what fascism is. What’s more, they see it everywhere—except when they look in the mirror.” George Orwell, in his infamous 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” said the word fascism has no meaning except insofar as it signifies something not desirable. The New York Times is noted for promoting modern intellectuals who  raise the possibility that the GOP is a fascist party, and that Christian conservatives are the new Nazis.

Goldberg asks, “…why aren’t we hearing similar denunciations of groups ranging from the National Council of La Raza—that is, ‘The Race’—to the radical Hispanic group MEchA, whose motto—‘Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada’—means ‘Everything for the race, nothing outside the race?’ Why is it that when a white man spouts such sentiments it’s ‘objectively’ fascist, but when a person of color says the same thing it’s merely an expression of fashionable multiculturalism?” Progressives and liberals today offer no answer at all to such questions. They would much rather maintain George Orwell’s  definition of fascism as anything not desirable, thus excluding their own fascist hate mongering.

I believe the major pitfall in all this is that fascism, properly understood, is not a phenomenon of the right at all. Instead, as Goldberg states, it is and always has been a phenomenon of the left. Let’s remember that fascism and communism are not polar opposites—schools of thought from across the gulf between left and right—but are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents, seeking to dominate and control the same sociopolitical space. Goldberg writes, “American Progressivism—the moralistic social crusade from which modern liberals proudly claim descent—is in some respects the major source of the fascist ideas applied in Europe by Mussolini and Hitler. Unfortunately, even those well-read Americans who understand this comparison simply smile and say, “Yeah, but it can’t happen here. Not in America. Not in the 21st century.”

Angry left-wingers shout that all those to their right, particularly corporate fat cats and the politicians who love them, are fascists. America is experiencing “nice fascism.” In many respects, fascism not only is here in America, but has been here for nearly a century. What we call liberalism—the refurbished edifice of American Progressivism—is in fact a descendant and manifestation of fascism. The main objectives of the Progressive Era—widespread social activism and political reform that swept across America from the 1890s to the 1920s—were eliminating problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and corruption in government.

A NEW PROGRESSIVE ERA

Today there is a growing constellation of voices and organizations trying to build a new progressive reform movement. It’s no accident that liberals now call themselves progressives and that the main Democratic Party-oriented think tank in Washington is named the Center for American Progress. Obviously there are differences between the Progressive Era of the early nineteenth century and today’s progressive movement. But take a look at the following list of factors:

  • a conservative president who is deeply unpopular
  • a country facing profound economic and security challenges
  • new technologies upending traditional media
  • a cohort of new immigrants
  • a bulging generation of young people ready to transform the political landscape

Is this a description of 2018 America? Surprisingly, no. This is a list of factors present in America in 1932 at the tail-end of the Hoover administration. We know how that turned out for our beloved country. FDR and his fellow progressives built social programs and international institutions that ushered in an era of unrivaled dependency on the “nanny state” for prosperity and stability. They used a fresh, new medium—commercial broadcast radio—to reach citizens, and built a new “majority coalition” from the emerging demographics of that time period. As in FDR’s day, the new medium of the Internet has all but replaced commercial broadcast radio. In 2017 alone, smartphone shipments in North America amounted to more than 200 million units. Sales of these devices exceeded $50 billion. Imagine the opportunity this presents for progressives to saturate the marketplace with propaganda touting the supposed benefits of a social rebirth in America.

IS PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP A FASCIST?

The United States’ supposed lurch toward authoritarianism—or maybe full-on fascism—has become an obsession among progressives and even a few centrists and conservatives. The word fascism has recently reemerged as a key piece of political terminology in our country. The headlines immediately after Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2017 read like a disturbing question and answer session. I remember the textbook definition from my Political Science class at Penn State, and it does not ring true with what progressives want us to believe about America today: 

Fascism is a political ideology that seeks to organize the government and economy under one centralized authority, with strict social controls and suppression of all opposition. It advocates a single-party rule, and rejects the autonomy of any ethnic group that it does not consider to be part of the nation. Typically, this ideology supports policies of nationalism and racism and solidifies power through terror and censorship. 

Frankly, I don’t see any indication that Donald Trump seeks to create a centralized “big government” in America; that is the design of liberals. Nor do I see any tendency for him to push for a single-party system, or the rejection of individual rights based on race or socioeconomic class. Trump is not a racist, and has no designs to solidify power through terror; nor does he want to repeal the First Amendment. Whenever President Trump has to address issues relative to illegals pouring into America unfettered, he looks at the safety and security, indeed, the economy, of the United States. There is no “smoking gun” of Trump claiming (publicly or privately) that Hispanics are sub-human; that legal immigration to our great country (especially from war-torn, despotic, dehumanizing, poverty-stricken nations) is evil and must be stopped at all costs, in any form (legal or undocumented), with no exceptions. I just don’t see it.

I am grateful, however, that he insists on immigrants coming into our country through established, legal channels, and that he stands firm against undocumented aliens entering America. How many of us truly understand the tremendous threat of allowing anyone to simply walk across the border without knowing who they are, where they’re coming from, why they’re emigrating, and where  they go once they’re here. Recently, intelligence sources have determined that Islamic extremists bent on attacking America from within have allied with Mexican drug cartels. They’re being aided and abetted by drug lords (indeed, narco terrorists). Allowing illegal aliens into this country unconstrained represents a clear and present danger to the sovereignty and security of the United States.

President Trump’s concern over massive illegal immigration is at the root of his claim to be a nationalist. He intends to put America first.

Bizarre claims that President Barack Obama was a Kenyan Muslim spy weren’t meant to be taken at face value; rather, they were designed to undermine trust in anything Obama said. “Donald Trump is a fascist” sounds more like a campaign slogan spouted by the opposition than a statement of fact. Bill Maher recently stated on his show, “If liberals believe President Trump is a fascist or an authoritarian leader capable of using force to suppress the opposition they should rethink their beliefs about guns.” This is a solid example of rhetoric spouted by pundits that tends to incite concern and panic. What evidence does anyone have that President Trump has designs on elevating his presidency to a dictatorship?

Key Trump administration officials have been confronted at restaurants. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urged protestors to hound Trump officials at restaurants, gas stations or department stores. Progressive pundits and the liberal media almost daily think up new ways of characterizing President Trump as a Nazi, fascist, tyrant or buffoon. Celebrities openly fantasize about doing harm to Trump. Just as Barack Obama was not a centrist, neither is Trump. Obama promised to fundamentally transform the United States. Trump pledged to do the same and more—but in the exact opposite direction. Democratic Party leaders are obviously not in agreement with the direction—right of center—Trump’s policies are taking. I believe the current Progressive meltdown is about more than just political differences; it is mostly about power—or rather, the utter and unexpected loss of it.

Donald Trump is not a fascist. Fascism has been an all-purpose insult for many years, but it has a real definition, and according to scholars of historical fascism, Trump doesn’t qualify. Rather, he’s a right-wing populist. He doesn’t want to overthrow the existing democratic system; nor does he want to scrap the Constitution. He doesn’t romanticize violence itself as a vital cleansing agent of society. But if this populist upheaval isn’t fascism or anything close to it, what is it?

The Trump phenomenon is a distinctly American upheaval: admittedly ugly in its overtones at times (which tends to rub people the wrong way), and occasionally disruptive of valuable traditions and institutions, but basically a necessary remedy to the centralizing dynamic of consensus liberalism. “It is certainly true,” said neoconservative intellectual Irving Kristol, “that any kind of populism can be a danger to our democratic orders. But it is also true that populism can be a corrective to the defects of democratic orders—defects often arising from the intellectual influence, and the skillful entrepreneurial politics, of our democratic elites.”

Today’s Democrat elites—the liberals and progressives who run our institutions—have become too complacent in their dominance and too conformist in their opinions. The populist movement that’s turning our politics upside down won’t win them over, but it will weaken their influence and rattle their piety. When the dust settles and the United States is still the free and vibrant place it was before—when the nation hasn’t metamorphosed into some fascist dystopia—they just might engage in a little honest, candid, self-criticism. In the meantime, I suggest taking any accusation that Trump is a fascist with caution.

Principles of a Modern Progressive Movement

Bernie Sanders at Lecture

“I’m not a liberal, I’m a progressive,” Bernie Sanders told a high school student in 2003 as he spoke to an assembly about the importance of civic engagement. He added, “There’s a difference.” Twelve years later, he was gearing up to run for president of the United States. He told progressive Democrats, “I have never accepted this nonsense about red states and blue states—in every state of the country there are people who are struggling, and they are on our side. Don’t accept that division. We are the vast majority of people.” Progressives say they might not agree on every subject, but they cite many common interests as human beings and Americans. “Most people want big money out of politics,” Sanders said. “Most Americans do believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and want a national healthcare program.” Sanders also said the majority of Americans believe the current minimum wage is not enough.

Progressives, Sanders included, say the American government has, over the decades, failed to represent the American people. Zachary Boren of The Telegraph wrote an article in 2014 in which he claims the U.S. government does not represent the interests of the majority of American citizens. Instead, says Boren, our country is ruled by the powerful and the wealthy. He believes the U.S. is dominated by its economic elite. Boren cites a peer-reviewed study that is presently being taught at our universities. The study, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, says in part, “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Sanders is concerned. He said, “I am worried that we are moving toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of people are not satisfied with controlling most of the wealth. They want to control the government too.” The concentration of immense political power in the hands of a wealthy few is not new in American history.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Speech

Martin Luther King, Jr. also wanted to fight inequality. He said, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” He added, “Since the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” It would seem King’s concern was not limited to blacks. He said, “We need an economic bill of rights. This would guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work. It would also guarantee an income for all who are not able to work. Some people are too young, some are too old, some are physically disabled, and yet in order to live, they need income.” He said America’s obsession with the Vietnam War overshadowed the nation’s numerous domestic problems. King added, “We need to put pressure on Congress to get things done. We will do this with first amendment activity. If Congress is unresponsive, we’ll have to escalate in order to keep the issue alive and before it. This action may take on disruptive dimensions, but not violent in the sense of destroying life or property: it will be militant non-violence.”

King said he was frank enough to admit that if the non-violent campaign he put forth did not generate some progress, people would likely engage in more violent activity, including possible guerrilla warfare in the streets of America. He said, “In any event, we will not have been the ones who will have failed. We will place the problems of the poor at the seat of government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind. If that power refuses to acknowledge its debt to the poor, it will have failed to live up to its promise to insure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to its citizens. If this society fails, I fear that we will learn very shortly that racism is a sickness unto death.”

King quoted Scripture, noting that the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the third and fourth generations. He said, “Nothing could be more applicable to our situation. America is reaping the harvest of hate and shame planted through generations of educational denial, political disenfranchisement and economic exploitation of its black population… We have, through massive non-violent action, an opportunity to avoid a national disaster and create a new spirit of class and racial harmony. We can write another luminous moral chapter in American history. All of us are on trial in this troubled hour, but time still permits us to meet the future with a clear conscience.”

Progressive Principles

The period of U.S. history from the 1890s to the 1920s is usually referred to as the Progressive Era, which was a period of intense social and political reform aimed at making progress toward a better society. Progressive Era reformers sought to harness the power of the federal government to eliminate unethical and unfair business practices, reduce corruption, and counteract the negative social effects of industrialization. During the Progressive Era, protections for workers and consumers were strengthened, and women finally achieved the right to vote.

The worldview of Progressive reformers was based on certain key assumptions. The first was that human nature could be improved through the enlightened application of regulations, incentives, and punishments. The second key assumption was that the power of the federal government could be harnessed to improve the individual and transform society. These two assumptions were not shared by political conservatives, who tended to believe that human nature was unchanging, and that the federal government should remain limited in size and scope. Interestingly, this mirrors the fight we’re seeing today progressives/liberals and conservatives, especially during the mid-term elections.

Today’s Progressive Agenda

What many of us now consider dangerous and stupid ideas of the past, progressives see as useful in the present. Even liberal historians usually label as disastrous two major decisions made by Franklin D. Roosevelt: the forced internment of Japanese-American citizens following Japan’s attack on U.S. Naval Forces at Pearl Harbor; and the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937—better known as FDR’s “court-packing scheme.” In the latter, FDR wanted desperately to put shackles on the U.S. Supreme Court in order to stave off its interference in FDR’s implementation of the New Deal. He was bothered by the thought of “waiting around” until a justice or two died or retired, so he dreamed up the idea of a new (additional) justice for every sitting judge who had reached the age of 70 years, 6 months, and had not yet retired. In theory, he could pack the court by bringing the total number of justices to fifteen.

Progressives also wish to nullify federal laws by carving out spaces exempt from federal protection. Democrats tried it and failed in the South Carolina nullification crisis of 1832-33 when they sought to render void federal tariff laws. Of course, the soon-to-be Confederate States were more serious, and in 1861 Southern Democrats said federal laws no longer applied to them. Accordingly, this idea of nullification helped spark the Civil War. Governor George Wallace is infamous for his blocking entrance to the University of Alabama in defiance of court-ordered integration. Why am I bringing this up now? That’s because 19th century nullification is at work in the nearly 500 cities that have declared themselves “sanctuaries,” saying they will not comply with federal immigration laws. How do you suppose these city governments would react if conservative cities were to declare federally-protected abortion rights, gun laws, or the endangered species act null and void within their city limits?

Help Wanted White Only

Another dark tradition from America’s past was the institutionalization of segregated spaces on the logic that the victims of discrimination did not deserve the protection of their freedoms under the Constitution simply because of the color of their skin. Yet once again the progressive Left has returned to its roots for inspiration and implemented an entire array of discriminatory practices. Special landscapes on campuses where particular races cannot enter are called “safe” rather than “segregated” spaces. Entry is entirely predicated on outward appearance—although how one’s genealogy is assessed ad hoc poses the same challenges as it once did for the racists of the Old South who came up with the ‘one-drop’ rule (i.e., even one drop of African blood means you are black).

The First Amendment

Freedom to Speak Freely

The Left has resurrected an entire host of once discredited ideas from the nation’s past that reveal the new progressive ethos and remind us why those practices were odious in the first place. A new drive to limit free speech is underway, not just on campuses but also on social media. The effort is almost entirely progressive-driven. We’re told that Christians cannot speak in public about Jesus Christ, or say “Merry Christmas” to patrons of their businesses. We cannot place nativity scenes on courthouse lawns. Someone living on a hillside above town who wishes to display a lighted cross for the Christmas Season is forced to take it down. Further, progressives are trying to steal our right to speak out against the dangers of Islamic extremism, claiming it amounts to hate speech.

Hate itself is not a crime. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate crimes, which can also encompass color, or national origin, are overt acts that can include violence against persons or property, violation of civil rights, conspiracy, or certain “true threats,” or acts of intimidation. The Supreme Court has upheld laws that either criminalize these acts or impose a harsher punishment when it can be proven that the defendant targeted the victim because of the victim’s race, ethnicity, identity, or beliefs.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, however, protects speech no matter how offensive its content. To be clear, the First Amendment does not protect behavior that crosses the line into targeted harassment or threats, or that creates a pervasively hostile environment. But merely offensive or bigoted speech does not rise to that level, and determining when conduct crosses that line is a legal question that requires examination on a case-by-case basis. We cannot necessarily legislate hate out of our lives, especially in a free democratic republic. Politicians cannot fix this country. Only its citizens can figure out what went wrong and do something about it.

A recent federal court case, Matal vs. Tam (2017), heralded the following opinion:

“Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”

America is not America if we allow the progressive agenda to gag our opinions. Again, merely offensive or bigoted speech is protected speech. It has to be. What we cannot allow is targeted harassment or threats. Maxine Waters (D., 43rd District of California) has taken to the streets inciting progressives and liberals to seek out and harass any Republican leaders or cabinet members who are shopping or dining in public places. She said, “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Did you get that? They’re not welcome anymore in America where they are free to vote how they see fit, work for whomever they wish, and say what they believe to be true.

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Democrats, both in the North and the South, had been the party of the old plantation. They had fought hard to protect the plantation through the Civil War and had largely successfully blocked Republican Reconstruction. Far from repenting of their long legacy of bigotry and enslavement, the Democrats—especially in the South—were scheming for ways to restore and reinvent the plantation in the twentieth century. Wilson was part of this scheme—a Virginia Democrat who as a young boy had watched in horror as Union armies occupied the South. This had a deep impact on his worldview. American Democracy, in Wilson’s eyes, was not an American creation; rather, it was a racial legacy dating back to the ancient German Teutonic tribes, whom Wilson dubbed the “Aryans.” Wilson credited most achievements in the area of government and social development for democratic self-government, which was essentially an Anglo-Saxon product. Wilson, in short, was an early apostle of the nineteenth century movement to invoke science on behalf of white supremacy.

In 1901, Wilson published an article in the Atlantic Monthly in which he made the case for the segregation laws that the Democratic Party was at the time enacting throughout the South. Free blacks, Wilson argued, were “unpracticed in liberty, unschooled in self-control; never sobered by the discipline of self-support, never established in any habit of prudence… insolent and aggressive; sick of work, covetous of pleasure.” Obviously they needed segregation, Wilson concluded, because otherwise they would be “a danger to themselves as well as to those whom they had once served.”

Wilson was almost single-handedly responsible for the national revival of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization that had been defunct since the 1870s. Wilson also segregated the federal government and promoted vicious schemes of forced sterilization of racial minorities. These schemes later surfaced during the reign of Hitler and the Nazis. Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, said that Wilson was “the most racist president of the twentieth century.” He notes the following regarding modern usage of the term fascist:

“In short, ‘fascist’ is a modern word for ‘heretic,’ branding an individual worthy of excommunication from the body politic. The left uses other words—’racist,’ ‘sexist,’ ‘homophobe,’ ‘christianist’—for similar purposes, but these words have less elastic meanings. Fascism, however, is the gift that keeps on giving. George Orwell noted this tendency as early as 1946 in his famous essay ‘Politics and the English Language.’ The word fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies something not desirable.”

Concluding Remarks

Progressivism is inherently hostile to moderation because, in the eyes of a progressive, progress is an unmitigated good. There cannot be too much of it. Progressivism contributes to the polarization and paralysis of government because it makes compromise, which entails accepting less progress, not merely inadvisable but irrational. Even when progressives choose their targets strategically—Hillary Clinton, for example, called herself “a progressive who likes to get things done”—the implication is that progress is the fundamental goal and that its opponents are antagonistic to social progress. Progressives believe because progress is an unadulterated good, it supersedes the rights of its opponents. This is evident in progressive indifference to the rights of those who oppose progressive policies in areas like sexual liberation, same-sex marriage, and abortion. Who hasn’t heard it said that conservatives are stuck in the past?

Where liberalism seeks to reduce economic injustice, progressivism’s goal is to eradicate it. Daniel Patrick Moynihan recognized this difference between Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which he always supported—as exemplified by his opposition to Clinton-era welfare reform—and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which he sympathetically criticized. The New Deal alleviated poverty by cutting checks, something the government loves to do, although liberals and conservatives typically argue over the size of the checks. The Great Society partook more of a progressive effort to remake society by eradicating poverty’s causes. The result, which most progressives are unwilling to admit, was the diversion of resources from welfare and jobs to “community action” programs that financed political activism.

 

Expanding the Culture of Dependency

Nowhere in the ancient or modern world… is there the idea that people will become self-sufficient if they are given a lifetime income that is slightly better than subsistence with no requirement either to work or educate themselves. —Shelby Steele

The multicultural plantation was made possible by the Immigration Act of 1965, which opened America’s door to more than twenty-five million non-white immigrants mostly from Asia and Latin and South America. Democrats have seized on this demographic change, the third great wave of immigration in America’s history, to create an expanded plantation system that incorporates blacks, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics. This plantation—fortified by an accompanying ideology of multiculturalism and identity politics—is the new venue for the most crippling racism that exists today.

Man Waiting to Appy for Welfare

What is Identity Politics?

The textbook definition of identity politics is “a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, or social background to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.” Identity politics includes the ways in which people’s politics are shaped by aspects of their identity through loosely correlated social politics. Mark Lilla of The New York Times believes liberals have overly focused on racial, social and sexual identity, thus reducing a more universal appeal. There is an admirable aspect of identity politics: opposing discrimination like racism, sexism, and homophobia. I support that commitment.  Frankly, fighting against dishonesty and violence is equally important as standing up against racism and discrimination.

Identity-Politics

Identity politics say you and your experience matter. Your identity gives you authority. Your beliefs can’t be invalidated because your identity can’t be invalidated. In the case of race, non-white people decided that their non-whiteness enabled them to speak with authority on topics of race. White people could only participate when they admitted that they were less worthy of speaking. Of course, this makes honest and productive dialog between non-whites and whites quite difficult. It’s as though we can only understand the black experience if we’ve been enslaved, beaten for our whiteness, persecuted, lynched, and so on. Identity politics has been utilized relative to the Muslim-American and Mexican immigrant experience of the twenty-first century.

What I cannot support is hijacking the American political process to fight discrimination. Further, liberal politics takes the same stance against capitalism—to include stripping education, health care and housing of their status as a commodity (in other words, they should be entitlements rather than something to be purchased). Here’s their argument: If everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, there’s no injustice when some of us fail. They want to create a more economically-equal society. Identity politics allows a race to focus not on how they should act in society; instead, it argues that external forces—in this case, discrimination—obligates them to act a certain way. It’s not their fault. They were victimized into protesting the system. Bucking it in any way possible.

Black Lives Matter Protest Banner

It’s tragic that, though the statement “black lives matter” is so obviously valid, after several years, most Americans still don’t support the movement. I think that’s because its most vocal members have made everything about race—citing their race as the reason why everyone must listen to them, instead of trying to convince people why they must be listened to as individuals. They make as many sweeping generalizations about race—who can speak, who can ask questions, who can understand, who must try to understand but will never understand anyway—as they accuse others of making. So, they shouldn’t be surprised when, instead of effecting change, they are now mired in cultural wars—the product of dissenters turning identity politics against them.

A Second Look at Racism

It is important to examine the exploitation schemes put into place by racism and white supremacy. I am certainly not one to deny the existence of white supremacy in America. It’s worth noting that humans tend to be prejudiced in nearly any setting at nearly any time in history in nearly any society. The slave plantation from the 1820s through 1860 generated its own type of racism to justify the ownership of human beings by other human beings. Doesn’t that statement sound absurd and evil on its merits? Interestingly, in a country built on the proposition that “all men are created equal,” it was difficult to have slavery without introducing the rationalization that the slaves were an inferior type of human or perhaps even subhuman, so that it would be acceptable to treat them like brutes or “merchandise.” Perhaps the more applicable term for how slaves were treated on the plantation was “chattel.”

The slave plantation was also a self-contained ecosystem, transmitted through generations, with its own rules and codes of conduct. Work was mandatory—it was the point of the system—but masters knew slaves had no incentive to work, because they did not receive the fruits of their labor. Even masters who were ordinarily kind people knew they needed the whip to make the slaves work against their will. Stealing in general was regarded indulgently by slave-owners because they recognized they owned not just the stolen property but also the thief who stole it. In no slave state were slave marriages legal, and there were special laws governing mulatto children who turned up. If a plantation owner impregnated a female slave, the law held that the offspring of that union remained a slave. Slave status, in other words, was transmitted through the mother. This was the way of the old slave plantation.

The Second Phase of Racism in America

The rule was quite different from the one that operated under the second phase of racism and white supremacy, which was the progressive plantation phase, from the post-Reconstruction 1880s through the 1950s and 1960s. Here black identity was established by the one-drop rule, in which any discernible black heritage—theoretically a single drop of black blood—consigned one to inferior legal and social status. This phase was typically defined by racial segregation and racial terrorism. It was often defined by such features as separate schools and separate water fountains, the exclusion of blacks from public life with the possible exception of sports and entertainment, and the use of various and often horrendous forms of intimidation—lynching being only the most gruesome—to punish suspected black criminals and to suppress the black vote. This was the way of the progressive plantation.

Institutional Racism

But where are racism and white supremacy today? Since those earlier schemes of racist exploitation have ostensibly ended—we don’t have slavery of the antebellum type anymore, legal segregation has been abolished and no longer do roving hordes of Klansmen ride rough-shod over black communities—some might hold that racism and white supremacy have largely disappeared. Some outspoken black leaders claim that racism has not diminished; rather, it has gone underground and now operates covertly rather than overtly to thwart the aspirations of blacks and other minorities. The less we actually observe public displays of this racism, the more insidious and powerful it is. Yet how do we address a charge of “invisible” racism?

Progressives and Racism Today

Progressive pundits insist that racism doesn’t have to manifest itself through individual or overt acts of racial discrimination; rather, there is “symbolic racism,” involving the use of coded symbols like the American flag or the Union Jack to provoke racial animosity, and “institutional racism,” operating through seemingly race-neutral practices such as university admissions policies, corporate hiring, bank lending and government contracts. Since those selection processes—merit-based though they may appear—disproportionately benefit whites over blacks, they are manifestations, we hear, of “white privilege” and “white supremacy.” 

Some may ask, “Why pursue hidden racism when there is obvious racism staring us in the face?” We can clarify this idea by asking a different question: “Is there a system of subjugation today that reveals the most blatant manifestation of racism and white supremacy and also represents the third phase of the plantation?” This question generates a series of others. If so, how does it operate? Why don’t the people who run the system want to fix it? Why don’t the inhabitants get up and leave? Is such a system limited to blacks or does it also involve other minorities such as Native-Americans, Asian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Muslim-Americans?

Learned Helplessness

Perhaps we’re now able to understand why inhabitants of the urban plantation don’t get up and leave. The answer is that the culture of the plantation breeds a kind of “learned helplessness.” The term was coined by psychologist Martin Sleigman, who accidentally discovered the phenomenon while doing research on dogs. Seligman and a colleague saw that dogs subjected to electric shock turned passive and made no effort to escape even though they could easily avoid subsequent shocks by jumping over a small barrier. He ultimately applied the concept of learned helplessness to individuals. Children who do poorly on math tests (this includes me!) begin to feel helpless about their chances for learning math. Women who are habitually shy never want to venture out into social situations because they are resigned to perpetual shyness. Torture victims develop a passivity that makes them inured to being tortured.

Learned-Helplessness

Learned helplessness refers to the way that once the mind is conditioned in a certain way, it can become immobilized in that state. In this sense, learned helplessness is an enslavement of the mind. Today it has become a basic principle of behavior analysis and behavior therapy. Remarkably, this concept can apply to groups as well as individuals. Learned helplessness seems to be the reason why people who live miserable lives on the urban plantation nevertheless don’t get up and leave. Please understand I am sensitive to the plight of people (whites and non-whites) who simply cannot afford to move. This occurred in large numbers during Hurricane Katrina. When Katrina hit, more than a quarter of the people in New Orleans were living below the poverty line. Twenty-seven percent of its citizens did not own a car, making evacuation even more difficult and expensive than it would otherwise be.

Who’s Running the Urban Plantation?

What about the people who run the urban plantation? This includes the whole class of overseers: the politicians, the intellectuals, the public defenders and class-action lawyers, the social workers and administrators who together operate and uphold the plantation. Why don’t they fix, improve and rehabilitate it to make it more livable? Why can’t our congressmen and senators find a way to bring about the type of country intended by our Founding Fathers? The short answer is that they have no reason to do this. The urban plantation is run entirely by Democrats. Most of these inner cities are one-party states. There is not a Republican in sight. Every position from the mayor on down is held by Democrats. So these are Democratic plantations in the same way that the old rural plantations were Democratic plantations.

The urban plantation as currently constructed by the Democrats works just fine for the Democratic Party. It creates a dependent class that the Democrats can service, maintaining inhabitants in a position of meager provision so that they are content enough to vote to keep the subsidies coming, but not so well provided for that they might entertain the thought of leaving or making it on their own, in which case they would cease to be a reliable political constituency for progressive Democrats. Additionally, the meager circumstances and cultural pathologies of the urban plantation create a resentment among inhabitants. The Democrats steer this resentment toward the Republicans, and the white man and the larger society, always forgetting to mention that it is they—the Democrats—who actually run these places. Instead, Democrats use the racial resentment generated by the way they run the urban plantation to bludgeon society and condemn America for failing its most vulnerable citizens. The idea is to extract an increasing fund of capital for the urban plantation that, however, never actually fixes anything but keeps the inhabitants in a state of lasting intergenerational dependency.

We see how the  plantation, which does not create employment for its inhabitants, nevertheless does provide stable employment to a whole class of academics, social workers and bureaucrats. The employment is stable because the plantation is permanent; there are no plans for it to ever be dismantled. The “war against poverty” is a perpetual fight in which poverty always wins because the game is rigged and the combatants are not fighting to win, only to “hold the line.” These bureaucrats don’t want to end social policies that subsidize illegitimacy; yet they have no plans of their own to restore and stabilize the black family in America.

The Multicultural Plantation

The Democrats’ new plantation, just like the old Democratic slave plantation, must expand in order to survive. Let us see why this is so. Blacks are 12 percent of the population, so with 90 percent of blacks voting Democratic, the Democrats have locked in 10 percent of the vote. American Indians are less than 1 percent of the population, and the Democrats get most of them. Asian-Americans are just under 5 percent and the Democrats get around 60 percent of them. Still, this is less than 15 percent of the total population.

Multicultural Hands

Hispanics are even more numerous than blacks, 13 percent of the population. Hispanic is essentially a linguistic term, referring to people from the Spanish-speaking countries south of the border. Hispanics are by far America’s largest minority and, being a young population, also the fastest-growing. Some demographers believe they will make up 25 percent of the population of the United States by 2040. If the Democrats could garner 90 percent of Hispanics, this would add at least 10 percent to their current vote, raising them to having a guaranteed base of 25 percent of the national total with the promise of an even greater harvest in the future.

Concluding Remarks

So finally we are in a position to answer the question of why the progressive Democrats focus so much on illegals. Essentially, they want to blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, so that when Republicans speak out against illegal (uncontrolled) immigration, Democrats can portray them as being “against immigrants.” This way Hispanics—not just illegals but also legal Hispanics whose families have been in America since the mid-nineteenth century—will learn to fear and despise Republicans in the belief that they are racist bigots who are opposed to all Hispanics. It’s another of those big lies of course, but a toxic one.

The reason Democrats need the lie is that they have no other way to win over hardworking, self-supporting people. Instead, they need dependent people who don’t believe they can survive without the Democratic Party to take care of them. Democrats are hoping that Hispanics who are angry over President Trump’s intention to stop the constant influx of illegal, undocumented immigrants pouring into our country will simply barge across our borders and vote Democrat. The Los Angeles Times reported on October 21, 2018 that a miles-long 7,000-person strong caravan of illegals are marching on our southern border intent on walking right in. It’s as though foreign nationals are marching on our borders in protest of Donald Trump. For me, this is a clear and present danger to the national security of our nation. We simply must know who is entering our country. To allow illegals to waltz in en masse is to allow virtually anyone to emigrate no matter their intention.

It’s time we confront the progressive agenda in America. Before it’s too late. Before our core values disappear with the dinosaurs.

 

The Urban Plantation

The Democrats have been shouting from the rooftops about their love for Mexicans. This is best reflected in the unabashed loyalty that top Democrats—and the Democratic Party platform—show toward illegal aliens. In the past, Democrats at least paid lip service to the necessity for immigration laws to be enforced, and for all people to obey those laws. The Democratic platform of 2016 subtly left out the term “illegal” or any variation thereof. Instead, it described America’s immigration system as a problem but not illegal immigration. Today, the Democrats are the party that sides with the illegals.

barack_obama_birth_certificate_fb

Under the Obama administration, illegals became a sort of privileged lawbreaking class. Initially, Obama did not hesitate to deport illegals, essentially carrying out the law and continuing policies of the preceding Bush administration. Then Obama changed course and publicly announced that through an exercise of prosecutorial discretion immigration laws would only be enforced against certain types of illegals—namely violent criminals—while so-called “normal” illegals would be left alone. The problem with this arbitrary approach is it sets an informal and unpredictable position and tends to tie the hands of the next administration.

Under Trump, Democrats in blue states are fighting hard to protect illegal aliens from being deported. We’ve all heard about the sanctuary cities that now dot blue states across the country. Mayors of these cities have made their position quite clear: They have no intention of cooperating in the enforcement of immigration laws. On the contrary, they will give “sanctuary” to lawbreakers who seek to evade capture and deportation.

Sanctuary CIties Map

In a 93-page ruling released in early June 2018, a U.S. District judge sided with Philadelphia (in my home state) to retain its sanctuary city status. Philadelphia doesn’t officially label itself a “sanctuary city.” The term, which has no precise legal definition, generally refers to jurisdictions that put rules around or limits on cooperation with federal immigration officers. Per the Office of Immigration Affairs, City of Philadelphia, which believes the phrase has become too politically loaded, Philadelphia prefers to be known as a “Welcoming City.” Philadelphia’s “action guide” on its immigration policies, dated January 8, 2018, states the following under the heading “Get Informed:”

Philadelphia is a city of immigrants. America was founded on the belief that everyone is created equal—and every person means every person, no exceptions. Philadelphia treats immigrants as we would any other resident under our criminal justice system.

The action guide lists several “facts” regarding why immigrants are vital to the City of Philadelphia.

  • The economic impact of Philadelphia’s immigrant population helps the City grow revenue and create jobs. Since 2000, immigrants are responsible for 75% of the workforce growth. Of the nearly one billion dollars in earnings generated by small business owners in Philadelphia, immigrant entrepreneurs are responsible for $295 million of those earnings.
  • Immigrants have played an important role in Philadelphia’s population growth in recent years. Immigrants helped reverse fifty years of population loss, thereby strengthening the City in the eyes of government officials. In some Philadelphia neighborhoods, the influx of immigrants has supposedly prevented destabilizing blight, improved public schools, and help spur growth in neighborhood commercial corridors.
  • More undocumented immigrants live in Philadelphia than in any other large North American city. And many Philadelphia families live in mixed-status households, which means that some family members are documented, but their parents or siblings might not be.

Progressives in California and New York go even further. California Democrats recently passed a law forbidding law enforcement from asking anyone’s immigration status or holding them for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents—unless they have been convicted of a crime. California also passed a law making it a crime for landlords to report illegals to the federal government.

cuomo

In New York, even a criminal conviction is not enough to deny illegals the protection of the state. New York’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo recently pardoned eighteen alien criminals—no murders, mostly thieves and drug dealers—for the express purpose of saving them from deportation back to Mexico. “These actions,” Cuomo said, “take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York.”

Okay. Reality check. Illegal aliens are not immigrants. An immigrant is someone who has emigrated legally to this country through a sanctioned immigration process that has been in place since Congress passed the first naturalization law in 1790. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 affected American perspectives on many issues, including immigration. A total of 20 foreign terrorists were involved, 19 of whom took part in the attacks that caused the deaths of 2,977 victims. The terrorists had entered the U.S. on student or tourist visas. Four of these individuals had violated the terms of their visas. The attack exposed long-standing weaknesses in the U.S. immigration system that included failures in visa processing, internal enforcement, and information sharing.

The point of combining illegals and immigrants, however, is to pretend that in resisting illegal immigration, Trump and the Republicans are against the immigrants themselves. The media is complicit with the Democrats in arguing that progressives are the partisans of the poor wretched masses that have poured into this country for nearly two centuries. Democrats point out that Latinos are voting for them over the Republicans two-to-one. In their minds, this proves they are friends and protectors of immigrants. I have just one question, though. How enthusiastic would Democrats be about fighting for illegal aliens and giving them a path to citizenship if, upon securing citizenship, they started wearing Make America Great Again hats and voting Republican? Progressive affinity for illegals seems contingent upon an implicit bargain—a quid pro quo—in which Democrats secure benefits for illegals and in exchange illegals agree to become Democrats.

THE URBAN MACHINE

The urban machine was a creation of the Northern Democrats in the Jacksonian era, and it reflected Democratic power in the cities of the North. The urban plantation was characterized by the fact that it produced nothing. No products. In this respect, it was very different from the rural slave plantations, which produced cotton, sugar cane, rice, tobacco, and so on. Rural slave plantations were designed to be productive. Urban plantations were not. They were both designed as mechanisms for stealing. Yet the thefts in the two cases were different kinds. On the rural slave plantation, the theft was fairly straightforward. One man steals from another man by making him a slave. The product stolen is the slave’s labor. Larceny is effectuated by force.

The rural and urban plantations were connected closely enough that the practices of the former could be drawn upon to describe the practices of the latter. Both operated on a principle that has defined the Democratic Party since its founding: the principle of dependency.

In the urban plantation, the theft is more sophisticated, although no less profitable. The thieves on the urban plantation have a much bigger prey. Here they steal from a much larger group, one made up of the entire body of productive citizens. The target of the urban plantation is taxpayers of all income levels—anyone who contributes to the public treasury. In this scenario, Democrats promise nameless immigrants meager favors—a job reference, a place to stay, money for food—in exchange for something that doesn’t cost the immigrants anything. Their vote. Democrats then use these votes to accumulate enough political power to get their hands on as much of the public treasury as possible. Sadly, taxpayers who have paid into the system have no idea what is being done with their money. This all started in the mid-nineteenth century through the model of the urban plantation—the urban political machine—which was also an ethnic machine.

MARTIN VAN BUREN AND THE DEMOCRATIC MACHINE

MVanBuren

Contemporary  and modern accounts agree that Van Buren virtually singlehandedly created the urban political machine, and he also helped forge the winning alliance that not only propelled Andrew Jackson and then Van Buren himself to the presidency, but also sustained the Democratic Party as the majority party for forty years. Incredibly, Van Buren did all this before he became president.

We may say of Van Buren what we might say of the younger Democrat Stephen Douglas, who would rise to prominence in the 1850s: neither of them actually cared whether slavery was voted up or down. What Lincoln later said of Douglas—that he had “no very vivid impression that the Negro is a human”—would also apply to Van Buren. He was an unscrupulous man in the process of creating an unscrupulous party who would stop at nothing to take America hostage and attempt to recreate her in their own image. Van Buren’s interest in the planter class was merely political.

Starting in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing through the early twentieth, America experienced one of the largest immigrations in human history—the uprooted from Europe. Some thirty-five million people left their homelands in Europe and moved to the United States. They were running for their lives. Six million came from the region that fell to the Germans, four and a half million from Ireland, four million from Great Britain, almost five million from Italy, two million from the Scandinavian countries, three million from Greece, Macedonia and Armenia, and eight million or so more from the east: namely Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Ukraine. We say these individuals were immigrants, but most of them in fact were refugees. They all were fleeing something. So these were the people who washed up on the shores of the United States after permanently cutting their ties with the past.

Post WW2 Immigrants

These immigrants  faced the immediate, pressing need of finding a livelihood and of adjusting to conditions that were completely unfamiliar. In their misery, Van Buren saw a political opportunity. He knew these people well, having been a first-generation American of Dutch immigrant parents.  And seeing the starving hordes—lost souls if there ever were such people—wandering aimlessly in cities like New York, Van Buren noticed that they resembled a group that he had become quite familiar with in his travels through the South: American slaves. So Van Buren said, “Why not re-create the Democratic model of the rural plantation in the Northern cities?” In other words, why not make the new immigrants just as dependent on the Democratic Party in the North as the slaves were dependent on the Democratic planters of the South?

Obviously, the immigrants and refugees were not slaves; they could not be held by force. Also, the new immigrants were white. But the deeper point is that both groups—the immigrants and the slaves—were wretched, impoverished, helpless. Their whiteness didn’t even matter to Van Buren. He saw only a clannish solidarity—people huddled together looking for solace and assistance from fellow countrymen. Van Buren saw that the slaves, in a parallel if not similar situation, had created precisely this sort of communal solidarity to survive on the plantation. From the immigrant yearning for survival and security that he well understood, and from their collective ethnic identity that he carefully observed, Van Buren realized the possibility for creating the same type of enduring dependency he had witnessed on the slave plantation, but this time in the Northern cities. The Democratic machine demanded complete allegiance. The machine’s agenda became the immigrants’ agenda. The machine told them how to vote and required them to campaign for its entire slate during elections. Its currency wasn’t patriotism; it was party loyalty.

Piles of Cash

For Van Buren, the treasury was not a fund of tax money accumulated to finance and promote the common good; rather, it was a prize to be distributed to those who enabled politicians like Van Buren to dip their hands into the treasury. It’s as though Van Buren’s mantra was To the victor go the spoils! Politics wasn’t a vocation; it was a business. While progressives admit that the Democratic urban machines were a for-profit enterprise, thoroughly imbued with corruption and election-rigging, they insist that the bosses gave immigrants a “voice.” Yet this “voice” was nothing more than the ventriloquist preferences of the bosses themselves. Plain and simple.

Much has changed. The Democrats gave up their system of ethnic mobilization under Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, then took it up once again under Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. Today, Democrats don’t bother to mobilize white ethnics anymore; they have moved on to other groups: blacks, Latinos, feminists, homosexuals. The old Tammany Hall regime is gone now, but what Tammany represents—the dehumanizing system of Democratic ethnic exploitation that Van Buren created—is still very much with us today.